How Restaurants Can Deliver a Best-in-Class Experience

Customer experience accounts for more than just the quality of food plated and served to hungry diners or handed to on-the-go eaters in paper bags out drive-thru windows; rather, it’s how customers feel about their overall restaurant experience.

Customer experience, or CX, is also about customer service, emotional appeal, delightful digital experiences, and simply feeling good about eating at a particular place of business.

Through frictionless digital integration and using AI to understand the customer journey, Chick-Fil-A delivers best-in-class CX, as Zen Media CEO Shama Hyder illustrates here.

In 2020, restaurant-goers and takeouters expect an authentic, human experience complemented by seamless digital elements. To offer the best of both worlds, the restaurant industry must innovate.

Here are five ways restaurants can deliver a best-in-class experience:

1. Inject a human element in the digital ordering process with an SMS line

Per a recent NPD Group report, digital orders via mobile app, internet, or text message have grown by 23 percent over the past four years and now account for $26.8 billion.

In an attempt to inject a human element in the digital ordering process, some restaurants, such as Washington, D.C.-based &pizza, have implemented an SMS line wherein customer questions, complaints, and comments are received and answered by actual customer service reps. This is a low-tech, high-value strategy which, on top of humanizing digital ordering, also helps avoid overwhelming busy brick-and-mortar staff with customer phone calls.

2. Employ a digital-savvy staff to gain an upper-hand across the entire guest experience

With a rapidly increasing volume of digital orders coming in from a handful of third parties like GrubHub, UberEats, and DoorDash, modern restaurant staff must be digitally savvy. Otherwise, staff frustration created by logistical issues will spillover to the customer experience. So when hiring in 2020, restaurant industry leadership should seek detail-oriented, organized staff confident working across multiple digital platforms.

3. Use data to understand your customer and improve their experience

They say “data is the new oil.” That is to say, when refined and converted to value to the customer, data is a true commodity. In the restaurant industry, that’s especially true.

Collecting customer data at various digital touchpoints (apps, websites, digital kiosks, etc.) can enable restaurants to personalize and elevate the customer experience. For example, a Chipotle customer who often orders burrito bowls might receive a coupon for a free one on their birthday, or a returning customer hurriedly on their way to work would be able to quickly pull a “previous order” at a digital kiosk.

4. Help your customers feel good about eating with you

A major non-digital trend of this digital age is, of course, environmentally and health-conscious consumerism. Depending on how restaurants respond to this growing social trend, it can become either an advantage or disadvantage. In order to show customers you care about both their health and planet, it’s wise to implement and advertise sustainable packaging, energy-efficient appliances, recycling receptacles, healthy food options, etc. Remember: feeling good — not guilty — about restaurant choice is a huge part of a positive overall customer experience.

5. Value ordering as an important part of the overall customer experience

Digital ordering and its impact demand one last mention here.

Today, when someone chooses between ordering from one of two or three of their favorite restaurants, they often consider the hassle (or ideally, lack thereof) they can expect when ordering. This considered, a seamless, engaging, aesthetically-pleasing digital ordering interface is now especially important. In an attempt to offer a painless digital ordering experience, make sure customers can customize their orders as they see fit; that they know extra guac is $1.50; when their food will be ready for pickup or delivered, etc.

If you’re looking for an easy way to start offering customers the dining experiences they crave, OneDine can help you easily and affordably put the right systems in place. Contact us today to schedule a demo of our all-in-one automated order, payment, and customer experience solution for optimizing your restaurant brand.